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Solar Water Heating Basics for Homeowners. Solar Water Heating Pilot Program. Vision and Mission. Vision: Creating a sustainable energy future Mission: Transportation Green Building Climate Change Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency . CCSE Programs. San Diego Energy Resource Center

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Skip Fralick

Solar Water Heating Basicsfor Homeowners

Solar Water Heating Pilot Program

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Vision and Mission

Vision: Creating a sustainable energy future


  • Transportation

  • Green Building

  • Climate Change

  • Renewable Energy

  • Energy Efficiency

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CCSE Programs

  • San Diego Energy Resource Center

  • Tax-Exempt Customer Incentive Program

  • Self Generation Incentive Program

  • California Solar Initiative

  • Rebuild Central

  • Fueling Alternatives

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  • Basic System Components

  • System Types

  • Collector Types

  • Types of Freeze Protection

  • Systems and Savings

  • SWH Pilot Program

    • Eligibility

    • Incentives

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What is Solar Water Heating?

  • Solar Assist or Solar Pre-heat

  • Always keep the existing heater as backup to solar

  • Great way to conserve energy, reduce your utility bill, increase the value of your home, and reduce Global Warming!

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Types of SWH Systems

  • 2 Types of Basic Systems

    • Passive – no pumps

    • Active – uses pumps to move the water through the collector

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Passive Systems - Thermosyphon


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Collector Types

  • Unglazed (Pool Systems)

  • Integrated Collector and Storage (ICS)

  • Thermosyphon

  • Glazed Flat-Plate

  • Evacuated Tube

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Collector Types

  • Unglazed Collector (pools)

Source: FAFCO Son Energy

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Collector Types - Passive

  • ICS

Source: SunEarthCPAU

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Collector Types - Passive

  • Thermosyphon

Source: SunEarthCleanTech

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Collector Types - Active

  • Glazed Flat-Plate

Source: EEREButler Sun Solutions

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Collector Types - Active

  • Evacuated Tube Collector

Source: Apricus CleanTech

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What is the SWHPP?

  • The Solar Water Heating Pilot Program, part of the larger California Solar Initiative, was designed to gather information on the market, technologies and financials of SWH in order to expand to a statewide program.

    • Total SWHPP budget is $1.5 million for incentives

    • Program rolled out on July 2, 2007 and will run through Dec. 31, 2009 or until the funding is exhausted

    • One year of data collection on all monitored systems (up to 100)

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SWHPP, continued

  • Eligibility

    • Available only to SDG&E electric customers, nowhere else in the state

    • New Construction is eligible

    • Pools and Spas are not eligible

    • Installations must use Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) OG-300 systems

    • Maximum $1500 for residential installations

    • Replacement systems may re-use existing copper pipes

    • Replacement of single components is not eligible

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SWHPP, cont’d

  • Program Installation Requirements

    • Eligible Contractor

    • SRCC Equipment

    • Freeze Protection

    • Scald Protection

    • Permit

    • CCSE Inspection

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Incentive Calculation

  • $1500 Maximum Incentive

  • Solar Orientation Factor – 0.9 to 1.0 based on tilt and orientation

  • SRCC Annual Savings of the OG-300 System

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Incentive Calculation - Example

  • $1500 x 1.0 x 140 therms/150 therms = $1,400

    • Recirculation Freeze Protection

    • 4x10 Glazed Flat-Plate Collector

    • 80 Gallon Solar Storage Tank

    • Natural Gas Auxiliary

    • Annual Savings of 140 therms

Source: SRCC

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Additional Incentives

  • Federal Tax Credit – 30% of cost (post-incentive) (cap removed)

  • Increased property value but exempt from increase property tax

  • Protection against future rate increases

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Economics of SWH

  • Natural Gas Displacement

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Economics of SWH

  • Electricity Displacement

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Environmental Economics of SWH

  • NG offset –

  • Electric offset –

  • Equivalents

    • 2004 Toyota Corolla driven 12,000 miles/yr

      • 8,095 lbs. CO2/year

      • NG offset = no driving for 4.7 years

      • Electric offset = no driving for 3.3 years

    • Trees

      • Absorb 2,000 lbs. CO2/year

      • NG offset = planting 19 trees

      • Electric offset = planting over 13 trees

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10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

1. Hire only licensed contractorsCheck the contractor's license number by calling the Contractors State License Board at 1-800-321-2752 or visiting

2. Hire insured contractorsAlways insist upon a certificate of insurance for general liability insurance. Uninsured workers who are injured on the job can file damage claims against the homeowner.

3. Verify Workers' Compensation InsuranceCalifornia requires this form of insurance for any employer with one or more employees. If your contractor is exempt from the workers' compensation requirement, it means any workers on the job must belong to another subcontractor who is insured.

4. Get referencesAlways get at least three references from previous customers of the contractor, and review past work.

5. Get multiple bidsGet three (3) bids and use a written plan, so you can compare apples to apples.

6. Get a thorough written contract before any work begins Any work valued at over $500 requires a contract. In the contract, be sure to specify the start and completion dates of the job, and insist on a progressive payment schedule that is spelled out in dollars and cents. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars, consider investing another $200 to have an attorney review your contract for your protection.

7. Never sign a contract under pressureInsist on at least 48 hours to study any contract.

8. Pay as you goTo start a job, never pay more than 10% down or $1,000--whichever is less. Hold back 10% for the final payment after the entire job is complete. Never pay for work before it is done.

9. Never pay cashPay by check or credit card.

10. Keep a job filePut receipts, permits, plans and anything else pertaining to your job in the file.Source: California Contractors State Licensing Board

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The SWHPP Team

  • Annie Henderson – Program Manager


    • 858.244.7290

  • Skip Fralick – SWH Energy Engineer


    • 858.244.4868

  • Mike Bigelow – Program Assistant


    • 858.244.7292

  • Eligible Contractors